Are You Getting Enough Dairy In Your Diet?

Arizona’s 188,000 dairy cows provide us with the freshest milk, cheese and yogurt.

Cookie with MILK sign

On average, a dairy cow will produce 7 gallons of milk each day. That’s a lot of milk! Remember too, 97% of your milk in the grocery store is coming from our local Arizona Dairies. June is National Dairy Month, and the perfect time to make sure that you are adding enough of it to your diet.

According to the USDA all liquid milk products and foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the dairy food group. Calcium-fortified soymilk is also considered to be part of the dairy group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium like cream, cream cheese, and butter are not to be considered as part of your dairy intake.

Including dairy products in your diet offers health benefits – chiefly improved bone health. Dairy foods contain nutrients that are crucial for the health and care of your body. These nutrients include calcium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.  The most notorious nutrient found in dairy products is calcium. Calcium is known for maintaining bone mass and building strong bones and teeth.

How much dairy should you be eating? According to the USDA, that depends on the person’s age.

  • Children ages 2-3 need 2 cups a day.
  • Children ages 4-8 need 2 ½ cups a day.
  • Adolescents ages 9-18 need 3 cups a day.
  • Men and Women ages 19+ need 3 cups a day.

The USDA states that 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk, 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the dairy group. They include a more specific measuring chart on their webpage.

Making sure you are getting the recommended amount of dairy each day can be difficult. Here is a list of ways you can add it to your diet to help you reach the daily recommended intake.

  • Drink low-fat or fat-free milk or calcium-fortified soymilk at meals. (If you drink whole milk it is recommended that you gradually switch to fat-free milk to lower calorie and saturated fat intake.)
  • Instead of using water, add fat-free or low-fat milk to hot cereals and oatmeal.
  • When you want a snack, have a low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Use yogurt for veggie dip mixes instead of sour cream.
  • Cut up some fruit and top it with flavored yogurt for an easy and healthy dessert.
  • Top soups, stews, vegetables and casseroles with shredded low-fat or reduced-fat cheese.
  • Top a baked potato with plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt in place of sour-cream.
  • Freezing berries and other fruit mixed in a low-fat or fat-free yogurt flavor of your choice makes for a refreshing treat.
  • You can find inspiration on our site by clicking on “recipes” and typing in your favorite dairy ingredient.

There are a lot of ways you can get creative with dairy foods to add it to your diet, so have fun with it this National Dairy Month!



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